Early humans first walked upright in TREES rather than on the ground, study claims
Early humans first walked upright in TREES, rather than on the ground as previously thought, the study claims
- It was long thought that humans became bipedal as they spent more time on land
- Shrinking tropical forests meant primates had to adjust their movements to find food
- The study disputes this and suggests that the ancestors began walking in trees on two legs
According to a new study, human ancestors began walking upright in trees instead of on the ground.
The long-held belief why we walk upright today — also known as bipedalism — is that our ancestors were forced to come down from trees and spend more time on land.
Because millions of years ago, shrinking tropical forests and expanding savannas meant primates had to adjust their movements to find food, it was thought.
But a new study disputes that argument — and suggests that our ancestors first began walking on two legs in the treetops.
According to a new study, human ancestors began walking upright in trees instead of on the ground. Pictured: An adult male chimpanzee walks upwards to maneuver through bendy branches in the Issa Valley savannah mosaic habitat
The long-held belief why we walk upright today – also known as bipedalism – is that our ancestors were forced to come down from trees and spend more time on land (artist’s impression)
A team from the University of Kent studied savannah chimpanzees in Issa, Tanzania for 15 months.
They discovered that the population actually spent more time upright walking in trees than walking on the ground.
The results, published in the journal Science Advances, also showed that the chimpanzees spent the same amount of time on two legs in dense and sparse vegetation.
When they compared the results to previous research on chimpanzees living in a forest, they discovered a close resemblance between their movements.
A team from the University of Kent studied savannah chimpanzees in Issa, Tanzania for 15 months. They discovered that the population actually spent more time upright walking in trees than walking on the ground
Author Alexander Piel said: “Long-held theories about the evolution of bipeds are difficult to probe, even given limited fossil evidence.
“However, the Issa chimpanzee community offers us a closely related ape that lives in a habitat very similar to where humans evolved millions of years ago.
“We studied the behavior of wild chimpanzees… and expected that they would spend more time on the ground and exhibit bipeds in open vegetation, such as forests, where they cannot easily move through the canopy.
“What we found was enormously surprising.
“Many of the traditional hypotheses about why we are bipedal today are based on the advantages that bipeds offered our ancestors – for example, the view over tall grass or the reduced solar radiation.
“However, the Issa chimpanzees did the opposite — more bipedalism in the trees.
“There are clear reasons why it is beneficial, such as reaching for fruit on higher branches.”
He added that walking upright on the floor may be a secondary driver of behavior development.
“That means we evolved to be bipedal in the trees, and then maybe it was catalyzed as the forests retreated and we lived almost exclusively in more open habitats,” he said.
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SCHEDULE OF HUMAN EVOLUTION
The timeline of human evolution can be traced back millions of years. Experts estimate that the family tree goes like this:
55 million years ago – First primitive primates develop
15 million years ago – Hominidae (great apes) evolved from the ancestors of gibbons
7 million years ago – First gorillas develop. Later, the lineages of chimpanzees and humans diverged
5.5 million years ago – Ardipithecus, formerly “proto-human”, shares traits with chimpanzees and gorillas
4 million years ago – Ape-like early humans who appeared in Australopithecines. They had brains no larger than a chimpanzee’s, but other more human features
3.9-2.9 million years ago – Australoipithecus afarensis lived in Africa.
2.7 million years ago – Paranthropus, lived in forests and had massive jaws for chewing
2.6 million years ago – Hand axes become the first major technological innovation
2.3 million years ago – Homo habilis is said to have first appeared in Africa
1.85 million years ago – First “modern” hand appears
1.8 million years ago – Homo ergaster is beginning to appear in the fossil record
800,000 years ago – Early humans controlled fire and built hearths. Brain size increases rapidly
400,000 years B.CO – Neanderthals first appear and spread across Europe and Asia
300,000 to 200,000 years ago – Homo sapiens – modern humans – appear in Africa
54,000 to 40,000 years ago – Modern people reach Europe
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-11537643/Early-humans-walked-upright-TREES-not-ground-study-claims.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Early humans first walked upright in TREES rather than on the ground, study claims